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connived at by the State. For men, who “ are but children of a larger growth,” are not to be weaned all 'at once, and the reformation both of Manners and Religion is always most surely established when effected by slow degrees, and, as it were, imperceptible gradations."
The more to facilitate the reception of Christianity among the British Saxons, GREGORY, surnamed “ The Great," then Roman Pontiff, enjoined AUGUSTINE, the first Missionary, to remove the Idols from the Heathen altars, but not to destroy the altars themselves,- because the People, he said, would be allured to frequent the Christian Worship, when they found it celebrated in a place which they were accustomed to revere. And, as the Pagans practised sacrifices, and feasted with the Priests on their Offerings, he also exhorted the Missionary to persuade them, on Christian Festivals, to kill their cattle in the neighbourhood of the Church, and to indulge themselves in those cheerful entertainments, to which they had been habituated. These political compliances show, that, notwithstanding his ignorance and prejudices, he was not unacquainted with the arts of governing Mankind.”
2 Brand's Observations on Popular Antiquities, vol. i. s Hume's Hist. of England, vol. i. p. 27. Edit. 8vo. 1823.
With regard to the Rites, Sports, &c. of the Common People, I am aware, says Mr. BRAND, that the morose and bigoted part of Mankind, without distinguishing between the right use and the abuse of such Entertainments, cavil at and malign them,
-yet must such be told, that Shows and Sports have been countenanced in all ages, and that too by the best and wisest of States,—and though it cannot be denied that they have sometimes been prostituted to the purposes of Riot and Debauchery, yet, were we to reprobate every thing that has been thus abused, Religion itself could not be retained -perhaps, indeed, we should be able to keep nothing.*
*Brand's Observations on Popular Antiq. vol. i. p.xii.
To perpetuate, then, the remembrance of those ancient Customs which in every age have been cherished with so much delight, must be allowed to be an' harmless amusement,-especially, when Education has so securely taught us to discriminate between Innocence and Superstition. And as the variety of old Usages generally, impart some degree of useful Knowledge, I have ventured to collect them,- independent of those affections for them connected with our Infancy, and which call upon us to secure from oblivion those festive Manners which constituted the great charm of a Country Life, and which, alas! are now so fast sinking away
The cultivation of Archery in England was an early and favourite policy of it's Rulers, and the glory which attended the use of the Bow, has shed a lustre over those pages of our history, which must always be perused with an excusable pride. Although Archery does not now hold rank in military discipline, yet to exclude it from martial affairs, were to reflect upon the prudence and consideration of those laws that were specially made for it's en-, couragement. And the victories of Crecy and of Agincourt will never allow the memories of those brave warriors to perish, who so well knew how to render the Bow triumphant.
Considered also as a Pastime, the pleasure of the Bow is a manly and graceful exercise, and conduces equally to the preservation of health and to the improvement of strength and agility.
The only expedient which was employed to support the military spirit during the age of Henry the Eighth was, the reviving and extending of some old laws enacted for the encouragement of Archery, on which the defence of the Kingdom was supposed much to depend. Every man was ordered to have a Bow,-Butts were ordered to be erected in every parish,
It is the hardest thing in the world to shake off Superstitious prejudices,--they are sucked in'as it were with our mother's milk,--and, growing up with us at a time when they take the fastest hold and make the most lasting impressions, become so interwoven into our very constitutions, that the strongest good sense is required to disengage ourselves from them. No wonder, therefore, that the lower people retain them during their whole lives through, since their minds are not invigorated by a liberal education, and therefore not enabled to make any efforts adequate to the occasion.5 :
In indulging at the present period in inquiries relative to the amusements of our ' remoter Ancestors, it may fairly be supposed that those amusements would be varied at different periods, 'according to the immediate occupations and pursuits in which they were engaged, and would likewise take their tone of colour
5.White's Natural History of Selborne, p. 203.